Australian fresh produce company Nutrano Produce Group currently grow mangoes at Eumaralla Farm in Katherine, Northern Territory and are trialling growing mango varieties at their Abbotsleigh Farm in Central Burnett, Queensland to extend the season. The company also has grower partners for Lady Jane Mangoes in Mareeba, Queensland.
“It has been a tough year for Kensington Pride mangoes across all growing regions with erratic growing conditions and inconsistent flowering resulting in a decline of KP volume by around 40% across all growing regions,” explains Josh Clementson, GM of Northern Farming at Nutrano.
“R2E2 on the other hand has been a great season for us and we’ve seen some of the best quality R2E2 crop out of the Katherine region in years producing glamour quality fruit with excellent blush. R2E2 is a more robust variety that can handle the weather conditions that we’ve experienced this year and held well on the trees for longer. We’ve achieved a high pack out of Premium Class fruit this season with high brix levels above industry average, good cheek plumpness and falling into the ideal tray count of 10’s-14’s.”
The Katherine region has had some unseasonal rain events this year which has impacted on fruit quality and harvesting this year. Rainfall that would normally hit the region around December – started in October this year.
Warm weather impacted the flowering of the KP’s this year, followed by patchy rain events that brought on the KP fruit quicker than expected.
“We started harvesting late October with our final pack out of R2E2 being dispatched this week. This will see fruit supply continue for the next couple of weeks.
“Eumaralla Farm has 250 hectares planted with mangoes with an additional 20 hectares of new plantings. We are looking to extend that footprint by a further 20 hectares in the new year. We grow Kensington Pride and R2E2 mangoes which is marketed under our Sweet Cheeks brand as well as the newer and exclusive varieties Lady Jane (RA/17) and Lady Grace (R10-8).
“This season we have seen consistent volume in the Lady Jane variety and fruit quality with production in line with tree maturity. We had an additional 7000 trees come into production this season which has provided additional volume and sales over and above previous years. It is a completely new variety to market and with anything new there are teething problems. Additional rainfall in the region certainly didn’t help either this season. None the less it is still a great eating piece of fruit with a rich sweet flavour and tropical aroma.
“What we have seen so far is that it is sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Our team are actively working on R&D trials on the cold chain process and looking at post-harvest practices and monitoring temperature fluctuations across the supply chain including transport. We’ve been working closely with Escavox using their dataloggers on all deliveries being dispatched from our Katherine Packing Facility to when it reaches our customer’s DC. This provides real time monitoring of temperature to ensure quality of our fruit remains at its optimum during transit.”
Consumer demand for mangoes is strong this season in both domestic and export markets. Mango season is an exciting time of the year that triggers the first taste of Summer. Eating quality has been exceptional along with affordable prices which is driving strong consumption this season.
“We’re pleased to see the VHT plant open in Darwin which will give us greater access to more markets such Korea, China and USA. We’ve been trialling small volumes to Dubai, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore and will look to build on export programs in the future years.”
Labour shortages continue to impact across the agriculture sector
“We’ve been fortunate being a national farming business that we were able to relocate staff members from Abbotsleigh Citrus in Queensland to support the Katherine team.
Our Abbotsleigh Citrus Farm in Central Burnett is 1 of 4 approved quarantine hubs in Queensland for seasonal workers so we have been able to manage our Seasonal Worker Programs from the Islands to support our local crew with minimal disruption.